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The Crucible is a play that signifies a test and a purification process. This play focuses on the struggle to discover the truth of the brutal lies spread inside of the town, Salem, Massachusetts. Arthur Miller, the author of this play, uses prose and stage direction to convey deeper meaning and purpose based on the Red Scare & McCarthyism. A Prose is a written or spoken language in its ordinary form, without metrical structure and is used in the Crucible to provide explanatory information about all of the characters.
He does this in order to contextualize where their reputation stands in the little town of Salem. On the other hand, stage direction is an instruction in the text of a play, especially one indicating the movement, position, or tone of an actor, or the sound effects and lighting. Miller uses stage direction to create a more conclusive setting, making the Crucible unique to most other plays. This also makes the message he is trying to project a more personal one that has a historical basis.
Instead of using words, Miller utilizes stage directions to portray the emotions of all of the characters within the play. ” He is overcome with sobs. Quaking with fear, mumbling to himself through his sobs, he goes to the bed and gently takes Betty’s hand”. Through this narrration, Miller creates tension and suspense that fortifies the effect of all of the emotions. Also, Miller includes further information within the stage directions as well as through narrative notes.
For example, when portraying Tituba’s emotions, he states that ‘She is also very frightened because her slave sense has warned her that, as always, trouble in this house eventually lands on her back’. Although this is not shown physically on stage, this gives the actors who are playing this part additional information on how Tittuba’s character is really like. Tituba creates a panic in society but her emotions show the audience that she was forced into lying because of the pressure of society.
This reflects on Miller’s strong belief for the olden times and provides observations to the motives of all of the characters in the play. Miller’s narrative notes also provide additional information, giving more insight into the characters more in depth. Arthur Miller narrates that Parris “ Believed he was being persecuted wherever he went, despite his efforts to win people and God to his side.’ and ‘He was a widower with no interest in children, or talent with them’. Miller also narrates, “Without warning or hesitation, Proctor leaps at Abigail and, grabbing her by the hair, pulls her to her feet. She screams in pain. Danforth, astonished, cries, “What are you about?” and Hathorne and Parris call, “Take your hands off of her!” and out of it all comes Proctor’s roaring voice. (pg, 101, Miller), This collection of compelling narrative notes administer a personal history of the characters that help make the play more passionate and touching.
The prose was used in the Crucible as a way for Arthur Miller to utilize his use of language in a way that connects to both today and the old times of Salem. His usage and language is similar to what was used during the time period of old Salem, Massachussets and reflects back to how the speech back then was expressed. Miller’s use of language is very compelling and effective and it helps the readers understand and experience how different the two time periods were. You can also see that Arthur Miller’s narrative forms are slightly more complex because they consist of the standard 1950’s language. Miller did this to replicate the simple language of Puritan country folks, while at the same time applying old-fashioned grammar and vocabulary. For example, Arthur Miller states, ‘This predilection for minding other people’s business was time-honored among the people of Salem, and it undoubtedly created many of the suspicions which were to feed the coming madness .’ This quote illustrates that minding other people’s business was no phenomenon.
Many people in Salem were always looking for ways to tell lies about one another to save themselves, meanwhile, most of the time people were just fending for themselves. Furthermore, the complexity and the detail of both the stage directions and prose serve as a huge component to conveying a deeper meaning and understanding in the Crucible. These aspects of the play allow the scenes to be more dramatic and most importantly, they allow the audience to visualize what is going on. The stage directions focus a great deal on describing the setting of a scene and prose helps make the scenes come to life with the spoken language.
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